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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old February 17th, 2009, 01:03 PM   #1
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quality of finished edit & the software used

One question I've never thought of before.

How important or significant is the editing software to the image / sound quality of your finished edit/DVD?

The major players seem to be Adobe Premiere, Avid Liquid, Sony Vegas but would you expect a better finished result from one particular product or is it just a user preference as to which package you choose?
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Old February 17th, 2009, 01:48 PM   #2
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Avid Media Composer and Final Cut Pro seem to be the ones most used in the production. Both are fine. The end quality of your DVD depends on lots of factors that you would do when you make your final compressions. The main thing to remember is the old GIGO line...garbage in/garbage out. Avid seems to have a problem with Canon's 24F mode, but FCP handles it fine. I've heard the newest Media Composer will accept it, but I don't know that for sure.
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Old February 17th, 2009, 02:37 PM   #3
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Older versions of Premiere Pro (<2) aren't great at encoding HDV to DV and you would need to buy the additional cineform plugin.

I'm sure that the latest versions i.e. CS 3 and 4 would be fine
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Old February 17th, 2009, 04:22 PM   #4
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A good NLE for you...

Avid Liquid (which I use) can handle all the facets of the different Canon modes. The selection of software can a play a part in your final compression, but the main thing is to find one that allows you, the editor, to maximize your possibilities based on personal ease of use and features. You can have the best software in the world and still have the video look like amateur hour. Vegas is a new favorite of many, I like Liquid, most Mac users go for FCP. Look them over close and see which is best for you. If you find one that you haven't used before or don't have a background using, then I highly recommend spending the extra little bit of money of a tutorial DVD or book, it can save a lot of heartache and give you instant knowledge to all the different features within your NLE.

Good luck...
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Old February 17th, 2009, 09:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Younger View Post
One question I've never thought of before.

How important or significant is the editing software to the image / sound quality of your finished edit/DVD?
All the ones you hear about or read about (Premiere, Avid, FCP, Vegas, etc.) can do the job. If you use any one of the popular supported systems the limiting factor will likely be the experience and ability of the filmmakers.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 01:35 AM   #6
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Basically none of the editors do anything to the picture quality when doing simple edits. Gold in, gold out. What matters more is if an itermediate codek like Cineform or Apple is used (allows more manipulation without quality loss than editing native HDV), wether lot of effects are applied and the biggest factor is to use the least amount of compression and a good converter for DVD.

I just made a 1:33:00 long video shot with XH-A1, and ended up drastically shortening the video from almost 2 hours to one and half, only to be able to use less compression. The quality difference was huge!
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Old February 18th, 2009, 09:54 AM   #7
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Right, so what you are all basically saying is: if your photography is good and you are not adding too many effects or manipulations then it doesn't much matter whether you put it through a high end edit suite or run it through Windows Movie Maker the disk you bung in your DVD player will contain the same quality of image.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 01:23 PM   #8
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I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation, because your choice of tools does matter and does say something about your professionalism. Everything depends on context.

That said, given the unprecedented wealth of choices we have, the playing field is pretty level- so the *limiting factor* always seems to point back to skill and ability.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 05:39 PM   #9
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I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation, because your choice of tools does matter and does say something about your professionalism. Everything depends on context.

That said, given the unprecedented wealth of choices we have, the playing field is pretty level- so the *limiting factor* always seems to point back to skill and ability.
:-) so that's knocked me back again... assuming your editing software is then a"tool" you are thus saying that if I shot some footage and captured it in a high-end and a low-end editing software package and proceeded to then do nothing more than add a title, then burn the rendered edit on to a dvd I would, or potentially could, see (and/or hear) a difference when watching on my TV.

That's what I wanted to know..... I wonder if I dare pose the question why? :-) or start a real playground fight by further asking which product is best?

I suppose I could get super technical and pose the question would some editing suites suit one shooting mode better than another?
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Old February 18th, 2009, 06:47 PM   #10
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Philip,

From a quality of finished video standpoint, and I'm talking only about the picture, there will be a difference between various editing software. This will be much more noticeable if you go from HD footage to DVD which is SD so there will be a lot of processing going on. The main reason for the difference is the rendering engine used to do the transcoding. I use Vegas Pro which allows me to tweak a lot of the settings for the rendering but also the other higher end software will allow the same thing (Premier, FCP, Avid, etc.). In the end the difference between these higher end editing programs comes down to workflow and what tools are included such as video scopes, color correction plug ins, titlers, transitions, and such. The funny thing is, if the framing is good and the angles are good the best edits are simple cuts, and if the exposure and lighting is good there is no need for color correction. Now I'm not that good so I need all the tools I can get. ;)

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Old February 19th, 2009, 02:46 AM   #11
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What I was trying to get across is that basically simple editing does nothing to the pictures, thus the quality remains the same no matter which editor you use.

Things get slightly more complicated when you make complicated adjustements, convert HD to SD, and the biggest difference will be in DVD compressors and which settings you use there.

Still, midrange or high end editing systems are capable of more or less the same quality, it is the operator skill and knowledge about the DVD conversion process which dictate the end result, not the tools used.

It is another matter if the said editors have more intuitive interfaces and workflows which makes work easier and promotes better quality from that angle, but that is a totally different matter.

Often, if not always, the cries like "the quality my ZYX editor puts out is awfull, I thought XH-A1 is good camera and look at this!" is because the person can not use the camera/editor properly and the system is doing some low-quality defaut conversions which the operator is not aware of in his/her ignorance. If you tighten a bolt with a loose monkey wrench and round the bolt corners, it is not the tool's fault. You should have used a proper spanner, or at least a tightened the wrench properly...

High end editor: set of spanners (but you can use the wrong size and round the boltheads)
Low end editor: Monkey wrench (but if you make it tight it will do the job)
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Old February 19th, 2009, 06:05 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Petri Kaipiainen View Post
High end editor: set of spanners (but you can use the wrong size and round the boltheads)
Low end editor: Monkey wrench (but if you make it tight it will do the job)
That's an excellent way of expressing it. So the 'tools' we talk about that make the real visible difference are not so much the 'packages' but the methodology the package employs to write HD to DVD as an example.

I have to hold my hand up and plead stupidity. I was under the misguided impression that if you record / edit in HD and burn to DVD you are NOT down-converting, you are simply putting a HD image directly on a DVD and it is that media together with the quality of the DVD player that determins the quality of the picture.

I always thought of down-converting as being a 'process' - something you had to physically do in the rendering / making disk stage. I have possibly been confused by hearing people mention that you get a sharper image putting HD on to DVD than down-coverting HD to SD then burn to DVD.

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Old February 19th, 2009, 06:33 AM   #13
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Yeap, DVD is ONLY SD, that is the standard. There are ways of recording HD signal to a DVD-R disk, but the end result is NOT a standard DVD and will not play on most DVD players and for that reason it should not be called a DVD. It is a DVD-R data disk.

For HD the standard is BluRay. Not quite here yet...
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Old February 19th, 2009, 07:46 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Petri Kaipiainen View Post
Yeap, DVD is ONLY SD, that is the standard. There are ways of recording HD signal to a DVD-R disk, but the end result is NOT a standard DVD and will not play on most DVD players and for that reason it should not be called a DVD. It is a DVD-R data disk.

For HD the standard is BluRay. Not quite here yet...
The amount of compression going from HDV (1080 x 1440 pixels, 25 Mbps) to normal DVD video (576 x 720 pixels, 4 - 8 Mbps) is very significant. A poor down-conversion could turn lovely picture quality into rubbish. Don't try to squeeze too much onto a disc. An average of 6Mbps variable bit-rate is probably the limit, which gives about 90 minutes on a single sided disc. Also, use two-pass encoding if you have it. It takes longer but makes better use of the available bits. Canopus ProCoder seems to be acknowledged as the best software converter at the moment (bundled with Edius or available on its own). I use Avid Liquid, and the latest version (7.2) does a very acceptable job (very much better than the old 5.62 that I used to use).
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